“Bandwidth” and “Speed” – not the same thing

It’s terribly confusing that these terms are used interchangeably. Unfortunately, they don’t have much to do with each other. Bandwidth is the number of “lanes” available to your computer. It is typically measured in Megabits/second of Mbps or Gigabits/second or Gbps. Do the number of lanes affect the speed of your car? Typically no, unless it’s rush hour.

What matters is how fast you can drive right? That’s “latency” in the internet/networking world. It is dependent on a lot of different factors, including but not limited to, the speed of your computer, the speed of your network card, the speed/how busy your local modem/router is, the speed/how busy your local internet provider’s infrastructure is and then all these factors on the other end of the connection as well. The “bottleneck” in the equation defines your latency at that particular time to whatever particular service.

So how do your measure your internet connection? Well, take those “bandwidth” sites with a grain of salt – they are best for measuring the bandwidth received to match up with the internet plan your paying for. The best measurement test I’ve found to determine “quality of experience” is the Cisco Webex Network test: https://mediatest.webex.com.

It measures a bunch of different things for a video call, which is the most demanding application for most people. If you get all green, then you’re in good shape. It means you could run all applications from that location without issues (as long as the opposite party doesn’t have a bad connection of course).

Check out my own article on how to improve “speeds”: https://textor.ca/2015/03/forget-a-bandwidth-upgrade-try-these-4-things-to-make-the-home-internet-experience-better/

Others have written on this subject – try here for another spin on this subject: https://accucode.com/bandwidth-vs-speed-which-is-more-important-2/

“Canadians paid more than $1.2 billion in wireless data overage fees last year”

https://business.financialpost.com/telecom/canadians-paid-more-than-1-2-billion-in-wireless-data-overage-fees-last-year

What can you do about it? Android users can install a no-root firewall called “NetGuard”. I’m not sure if Apple users can do anything. I did a quick search and nothing came up.

If you’re not too technical, use my NetGuard import file (link below) to auto-configure the app for you. I had to troubleshoot some google system apps to make it run seamlessly. The app works basically by stopping anything from using your data plan unless you say so. You can set apps up to not use data unless you are actually using them as well (screen is on and actively interacting with it). It’s pretty slick. We use about 200MB a month just by using this app. We still get maps/GPS, email, etc. Things we try to avoid doing while on data is using a web browser and video. That doesn’t mean we don’t watch videos. We just indicate that the video is downloaded for offline viewing only while on Wifi (you can do this with Netflix and Plex).

NetGuard link: https://www.netguard.me/
Link to import file: netguard_20181128 – Download to a desktop/laptop and unzip this file with password “1234” (due to wordpress security it doesn’t allow .xml files so using password zip to get around this). Then transfer this file to your phone (e.g. maybe by emailing or certainly via USB transfer).

“A Christmas Carol” – The Economics Behind It

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was an attack on some of the then big minds of the “political economy” movement (now called Behavioural Economics). So ya, it was an economics novella. How cool is that!? Planet Money covers the economic history behind the famous yearly tradition.

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/12/21/679213648/episode-883-a-very-planet-money-christmas-carol

Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan are at high risk of dangerous radon levels

Our radon mitigation is complete! We went from 435 Bq/m3 to 22 Bq/m3.
 
150 Bq/m3 is equivalent to smoking a half pack of cigarettes/day or if a person smokes already multiplies that smoking risk by 14 times. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. 100 Bq/m3 is world health organization limit, 200 Bq/m3 is Health Canada and 15 Bq/m3 is what is prevalent outdoors (normal radon levels). 1 in 6 homes tested in 2017 had dangerous levels of radon gas (over 200). Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan are at high risk of high radon levels.
 
Forced air systems just move it all around the house and “leaky” house doesn’t really help (it’s the pressure pull of heating a space that is the issue); a house either has high levels or it doesn’t. Even our garage (no basement) was at 150 Bq/m3 and it’s as leaky as it gets. The mitigation process seals all the basement large open holes and helps mitigate basement smell (since it’s sucking all the moist earthy air below the cement and blowing it out the side). 
 
Thanks to Radon West. This company is also the one helping with the UofC radon study. Learn more here:
Note: In Canada we side-wall vent. Rooftop vents ice up in our cold weather. Canadian studies on dissipation is that within a meter of the vent the radon reading is at normal outside levels; Meaning it dissipates extremely quickly. 
More on risks of dying from lung cancer, radon and smoking:
Radon meter I purchased; Radon West confirms it is very accurate for a residential unit. A +/-10% reading is available from it within 7 days. Our unit is loaned out to friends and family pretty much constantly.
Corentium Home by Airthings, Radon Gas Detector, Canadian Version in Bq/m
UofC Calgary study (home owners may be able to get testing for free):

Planet Money Talks Trade Wars And The Batman Problem

https://blog.forumias.com/protectionism-and-trade-war/Instead of a trade-war which impacts the global economy and hurts everybody, why not just use anti-currency manipulation to address the trade deficit? As explained by Planet Money’s “indicator” podcast it’s practically free. What it doesn’t do is buy politicians votes… The world economy just might be suffering in order for a politician to get re-elected…

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/07/18/630265851/trade-wars-and-the-batman-problem

Published in Reader’s Digest “11 Hidden Reasons Your Internet Is So Slow”

Yes, the Reader’s Digest. Access their article here:

11 Hidden Reasons Your Internet Is So Slow (Oct 1, 2018)

They quoted a popular post I wrote in 2015:

Forget a bandwidth upgrade! Try these 4 things to make the home internet experience better

 

The secret to clean laundry in hard water cities and/or families with kids

Is washing soda! If you have super dirty laundry (kids), hard water or both, add extra washing soda. We add about a cup to our loads. No more of that stinky moldy smell with kitchen clothes either, and we use bleach WAY less.

 

 

About:

https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-washing-soda-2145888

What we buy:

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01BOM9OE0/

Watching YouTube is dangerous for Children

Parents with young children need to monitor, if not outright abandon, YouTube. This TED talk takes parents through “why” but high level, never let them watch YouTube with automatic play. Avoid surprise egg videos. Don’t let them watch videos you haven’t checked them and take precautions if leaving them watch unattended.

People on opposite sides of the globe with the same income level live very similarly

Visit dollar street to find how income affects how people live. Also startling… everyone in a 1st world nation is considered RICH! And unfortunately we take a lot for granted; like having a toothbrush. Bill Gates introduces the Dollar Street site here.  Explore Dollar Street in full here.

(11Sep2018 edit) The book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling describes the 4 levels of income groups and explains the kind of life these people have (similar to Dollar Street). Explore these income groups (which replaces the concept of developing vs developed world): https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Factfulness